HE Shared Legal is a national shared legal guidance and support service for the UK higher education sector.

HE Shared Legal provides ad hoc legal guidance to subscriber institutions in relation to individual enquiries.  In addition, we circulate generic guidance in the form of a regular newsletter highlighting legal developments of relevance to the sector.  We also offer a legal services consultancy service, which is available to all HE institutions.

EHRC inquiry: Racial harassment in higher education

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have launched an inquiry into ‘Racial Harassment in publicly funded Higher Education Institutions in Great Britain’.  The inquiry is being conducted under section 16 and schedule 2 of the Equality Act 2006. Details of...

Pensions: USS interpretation of incapacity

In Universities Superannuation Scheme Ltd v Scragg & Anor [2019] EWHC 51 (Ch), the High Court considered a provision in the scheme rules for the Universities Superannuation Scheme, which allows members to retire before the normal retirement age if they are...

Newsletter Issue 99

Data Protection: ICO publishes guidance on GDPR contracts and liabilities; ICO issues guidance on controllers and processors
Employment: Implementation of the Good Work Plan; Sexual harassment at work: Government responds to Committee report; EHRC inquiry: Racial harassment in higher education
Tax, Insurance and Pensions: USS interpretation of incapacity
Charity: Scottish charity law consultation launched
Governance: The Prescription (Scotland) Act 2018 receives Royal Assent
Commercial agreements/Procurement: Public Procurement (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019
FAQ Employment: Can favourable treatment amount to disability discrimination Read Full Article…

Newsletter Issue 98

Data Protection: ICO blog: advice for organisations in relation to a possible no-deal Brexit
Employment: Dismissing an employee in receipt of long term disability benefits; Whether an independent professional expert was required on the disciplinary panel to address certain allegations of misconduct; The Good Work Plan outlines key changes to employment law rights
Governance: Companies House: incorporation applications to be checked for compliance with UN financial sanctions; BEISC Report recommends measures to address SME productivity; First Minister of Scotland’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership publishes recommendations
Commercial: Student accommodation survey report highlights mental health
Read Full Article…

Data protection: ICO blog – advice for organisations in relation to a possible no-deal Brexit

In a blogpost published on 13 December 2018, the Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham sets out information for organisations, to help them prepare for the possible event of a 'no-deal' Brexit. The Information Commissioner said that, in view of the UK government’s...

Employment: The Good Work Plan outlines key changes to employment law rights

This week the Government has published the final version of The Good Work Plan.  This follows on from the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices and four subsequent Government consultations.  The key aims of The Good Work Plan are to: ensure work is ‘fair and...

Newsletter Issue 97

Data Protection: ICO guidance on passwords and encryption; ICO call for views on updating direct marketing code of practice;
Employment: Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018 (Commencement No1) Regulations 2018; European Court of Justice judgement on payments in lieu of annual leave on termination; Government response to Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Consultation; Inquiry into Non-Disclosure Agreements
Commercial: Budget 2018: Capital allowances for structures and buildings; Contractual limitation periods of signing a document as a deed; the scope of an ‘entire agreement’ clause
Procurement: Equal treatment and previous participation;
FAQ: Employment: Do mistakes in a dismissal process impact affect the fairness of the dismissal, even if the employer believes that the dismissal was inevitable notwithstanding the procedural failings?
Read Full Article…

Procurement: Equal treatment and previous participation

In Case T 10/17 Proof IT SIA v EIGE (16 October 2018), the question of applying the principle of equal treatment was considered when an incumbent service provider participated in a tender exercise for the re-procurement of online services.  The incumbent was awarded...


Frequently asked questions

What is HE Shared Legal?

HE Shared Legal is a shared, non-profit-making, legal guidance and support service for HE institutions throughout the UK.

What does HE Shared Legal do?

There are three main elements to our work:

  • Shared, "in-house" legal service – providing guidance and support with (ie generally, answering) specific legal enquiries in the manner of an in-house lawyer
  • Generic guidance – publication of regular newsletters and FAQs on a wide range of legal topics of relevance to HEIs
  • Legal services consultancy – assistance and support with the selection, engagement, instruction and,if required, ongoing monitoring of external legal advisers
What is the significance of the ‘in-house’ aspect?

As far as possible, HE Shared Legal works with institution representatives on a friendly, informal basis, as if the HE Shared Legal lawyer was physically embedded within the institution concerned. We also endeavour to establish a strong working relationship with the relevant HEI managers and a sound understanding of the institution and its approach to governance, risk management, etc.

What areas of law are covered?

The service deals with nine broad areas of law, as follows:

  • Employment
  • Property
  • Charity
  • Environmental
  • Commercial Agreements (including procurement law)
  • Banking and Financial Services
  • Corporate and governance
  • Tax, insurance and pensions
  • Intellectual Property and IT law
Are there any other aspects to the work of HE Shared Legal?

In addition to the three main elements described above, the service also offers the following:

  • Preliminary transaction and case planning
  • Trouble shooting
  • The conduct of joint projects
  • The development of standard procedures and documents
What are the limits to the HE Shared Legal service, ie what does HE Shared Legal not do?

The service has no mandate to deal with the following:

  • Provide professional legal advice, with the benefit of legal liability (as opposed to informal, legal ‘guidance’ and ‘support’)
  • Represent institutions in relation to dealings with third parties
  • Conduct cases or transactions, although preliminary case/transaction planning is provided

Where support of this nature is required, HE Shared Legal will be happy to assist with the selection and engagement, on competitive terms, of suitable specialist legal advisers.

Who are the typical users of the service?

The service may be used by any nominated representative within a subscriber institution. Typically, the users of the service will be senior managers from one or more of the following disciplines:

  • Finance
  • Commercial
  • Governance
  • HR
  • Estates
  • Registry
  • Procurement
When did the service start?

The service opened for business on 1 May 2012.

How many institutions have joined the service?

There are currently eleven subscriber institutions, located in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

How is HE Shared Legal funded?

Having been funded initially by HEFCE grant, the service is now financed by subscription fees from subscriber institutions.  We also offer legal services consultancy to other HEIs and relevant sector bodies.

How much is the subscription?

The current subscription fee is £9,500, exclusive of VAT, covering the period of twelve months from 1 August 2018 to 31 July 2019. There are no additional usage or other charges.

How is the service staffed?

There are three members of staff – all lawyers qualified in Scotland as solicitors (and one is also qualified to practise law in Greece).  All three have a predominantly commercial background, which is suited to the ‘business to business’ character and ‘employer-side’ role of much of their work.

What legal form does the service take?

HE Shared Legal Limited is a company limited by guarantee, managed by its Principal Lawyer, who is the managing director of the company.  The company is planning in the longer term to convert the service from a subscription basis to a full VAT cost sharing group or some other suitable structure involving a measure of 'ownership' by the subscribing institutions.

Finally, what are the main benefits of the service?

The principal benefits of a subscription to HE Shared Legal are as follows:

  • Ready access to experienced legal resources at low cost
  • Potential to achieve substantial savings on external legal fees
  • Assistance with development of good practice and assurance
  • Access to sector-wide intelligence and contacts on legal issues
  • Part of the HEI 'corporate armoury'

For further information, please contact HE Shared Legal on 0141 237 5880 or enquiries@hesharedlegal.ac.uk.